Microsoft has made available the Release Preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7, the next iteration of its web browser which is also part of Windows 8.1, the company’s upcoming update to its Windows 8 operating system.
It’s worth pointing out that the final version of the browser will be available later this year.
According to Microsoft, the Release Preview of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 includes performance improvements making it 30 percent faster than other browsers, and includes updates to support the latest Web standards, and developer tools improvements in response to feedback on the Internet Explorer 11 Developer Preview for Windows 7, which was made available in July.
At the time of unveiling the Developer Preview version of IE11 for Windows 7, Microsoft had said that the browser offers the same improved performance, faster page load times, new standards support for next generation sites, and completely revised F12 developer tools, that the browser’s Windows 8.1 version offers.
According to Microsoft, IE11 is the first browser to natively decode JPG images in realtime via the GPU (Graphics processor), allowing web pages to load faster and use less memory, whilst reducing power consumption and improving battery life of devices. IE11 also boasts of being the first browser to render text on the GPU.
Microsoft also claims that the updated version of Internet Explorer is the first browser to implement the W3C Resource Priorities standard allowing developers to specify which parts of the page are important and need to be loaded first. It also supports HTML5 link prefetching and pre-rendering, letting developers guide the browser anticipate where users are expected to go next and get those pages ready.
The browser brings some under the hood changes including support for hardware accelerated 3D web graphics with support for WebGL. It also supports plug-in free HTML5 video and the latest standards for closed captioning, adaptive streaming, wherein the quality of the video is adjusted depending on the available bandwidth, and rights management.
The Redmond giant claims that on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 11 Release Preview is 9 percent faster than Internet Explorer 10, which is a 5 percent improvement from the Internet Explorer 11 Developer Preview.
IE11 also features a completely overhauled suite of in-browser F12 developer tools. These tools help Web developers diagnose and optimize their apps quickly and efficiently, as per Microsoft.
The browser’s Windows 8.1 avatar offers additional features optimised for touchscreens including swipe gestures for going forward and back and supports Windows 8.1’s side by side mode allowing users to browse two websites on different instances of the browser on one screen. It also includes a sync tab feature that lets users continue browsing the same websites on different devices using their Microsoft credentials. This feature is not available on the browser’s Windows 7 version.